NZ Herald: Ocean dwellers miss the census

Geoff Cumming writes in the New Zealand Herald about a recent report which says that, at a time when our knowledge of marine biodiversity is crucial, our ability to identify new species is at its lowest since World War II.

The report, part of the Census of Marine Life, highlights the importance of taxonomy (classification) work of species by scientists, although it’s ‘unsexy’ nature has seen it being less funded, and followed as a career.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“New Zealand is one of 25 marine regions which this week released inventories of marine biodiversity for the 10-year census project, which ends in October.

“The New Zealand report says a quarter of 17,000 species collected in our exclusive economic zone have yet to be described.

“It suggests a further 17,000 species – most in depths beyond 2000m – have yet to be discovered.

“The report says New Zealand has 62 marine scientists capable of identifying marine organisms, but only 29 who regularly describe new species.”